550 South Hope Street is a 27 story, 610,000 square foot office building with underground parking for 520 cars located in the setting of two social institutions - the Los Angeles Public Library and the California Club, a very public and a most private one. Through abstract use of form, scale and materials, the civic importance of the Library and public nature of the street are reinforced and the Club is drawn into the composition.
Two sculptural volumes around a central slab of the same width as the Club are set perpendicular to it; they frame the symbolically important Library tower at the terminus of Hope Street. This is reinforced by the building's projecting base which defines the street wall and creates a scale relationship to the smaller adjacent buildings. The use of beige and red-orange granites similar in tone to the two adjacent buildings creates a unified urban composition, forming a new urban scene using abstract means yet allowing each structure to retain its own stylistic integrity.
Mr. Gates acted as lead designer on this project at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, PC.
photo by Tom Bonner
Retail functions and a double height lobby are located at the Hope Street level. They are linked by a monumental stair and the erosion of the building's base to a mezzanine court adjacent to the Library terrace. In addition to providing a place of quiet contemplation remote from the street, the court introduces a new, green pedestrian link to the network already established on the block.
The Lobby is conceived as a room within the flowing public space of the base of the building, rendered stable by the definition of its bounding surfaces. These surfaces are composed of thin layers of travertine and granite arranged in an abstract pattern designed to order the formal entrance into the building. A curving, illuminated glass ceiling further anchors the lobby and acts as a lantern for the passers-by at night.
photo by Tom Bonner
KPF - 550 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, California 1989-1992